NED Honors Champions of Freedom with 2024 Democracy Awards

Washington, DC—The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) will pay tribute to courageous partners from Sudan, Tibet, and Ukraine at the 2024 Democracy Awards on Thursday, June 13, 2024. The evening event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will also include a presentation of NED’s Democracy Service Medals recognizing Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, and democracy leaders from Russia, Tibet, and Belarus. The program will also feature a special tribute to the people of Venezuela. Guests will include democracy advocates and supporters from around the world, representatives from Congress and the administration, and members of the media. The event will be livestreamed for online audiences. [Watch the event livestream on June 13 at 7:00 pm.] 

“The 2024 Democracy Awards will honor the remarkable achievements of our partners and leaders who have dedicated their lives to the advancement of democracy worldwide,” said Kenneth Wollack, NED’s Board Chair. “The NED Board is proud to recognize these democracy champions and stand with them as they continue their struggle. We are also excited to recognize Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell, two longtime champions of freedom who have worked across the aisle to support democracy advocates and speak out against repression in China, Burma and elsewhere.” 

The 2024 Democracy Awards will recognize NED partners who have defended the rights of vulnerable children, sought accountability for human rights abuses, and empowered young leaders.  

The 2024 Democracy Award honorees are:  

  • Regional Center for Human Rights, for ground-breaking work seeking accountability for forcibly abducted Ukrainian children. 
  • Tibet Action Institute, for documenting the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to erase Tibetan children’s identity. 
  • Waey Organization, for empowering young Sudanese leaders to advance peace and democracy amidst violent conflict. 

The evening will also include a presentation of NED’s Democracy Service Medals to leaders on the forefront of championing democracy. 

The 2024 Democracy Service Medal honorees are: 

  • Vladimir Kara-Murza, imprisoned Russian opposition leader, for his support for truth and democracy in Russia and his courage to continue to speak out against Russia’s war in Ukraine even from behind bars.  
  • Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, for his distinguished leadership in support of freedom and defense of democracy champions around the world, from Burma to Ukraine. 
  • Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, for her outspoken support for democracy advocates around the world, especially those who took great risks, and for democratic allies including Taiwan and Ukraine. 
  • Sikyong Penpa Tsering, Sikyong (President) of the Central Tibetan Administration, for his leadership defending democracy and human rights on behalf of all Tibetans. 
  • Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Leader of Free Belarus, for her unparalleled leadership and personal sacrifice to defend democracy over authoritarianism. 

The evening will conclude with a special tribute to the people of Venezuela, including remarks from democratic opposition leader María Corina Machado and music performed by Saúl Vera and Jorge Glem. 

“The partners and leaders that NED will honor this year represent the unwavering spirit of freedom, even in the toughest of circumstances, as well as America’s strong bipartisan support for democracy around the world,” says NED President and CEO Damon Wilson. “Our awardees have made a significant impact on a global scale to uplift the oppressed and hold autocrats to account. These honorees inspire us to double down on the fight for freedom and human rights today.” 

About NED’s Democracy Award: The Democracy Award is given annually by NED’s Board of Directors to recognize the courageous and creative work of individuals and organizations advancing the cause of human rights and democracy around the world. The award is a replica of the Goddess of Democracy erected during China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. [Learn more about the annual awards and past honorees.] 

About the Democracy Service Medal: The Democracy Service Medal is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated, through personal commitment, their dedication to the advancement of freedom and human rights, and to the building of democratic institutions. Past awardees include Senator John McCain, Secretary Madeline Albright, Bishop Silvio Báez, the Dalai Lama, Václav Havel, and President Tsai Ing-Wen. [Learn more about past honorees.] 


About the National Endowment for Democracy 

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is an independent, nonprofit, grant-making foundation dedicated to the development and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. With an annual appropriation from Congress, NED funds more than 2,000 grants in over 100 countries. NED’s grants program is augmented by the International Forum for Democratic Studies; the Reagan-Fascell Fellowships Program; the World Movement for Democracy; and the Center for International Media Assistance. 

NED’s approach draws on support from the two leading political parties, business, and labor. NED’s core institutes include: the Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the Solidarity Center. 



Christine Bednarz, Director of Communications,; +1-202-200-6872